Suspended IPS officer Basant Rath on Tuesday dropped another hint about joining the BJP and expressed his willingness to contest against Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, two former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, but the saffron party feigned complete ignorance about his plans.
Rath, who had claimed to have resigned from the police service through a social media post on June 25, said in a fresh tweet, “If the BJP high-command allows me, I’ll contest against Omar Abdullah who was my chief minister when I was the police chief in Jammu (SSP), and Mehbooba Mufti who was my chief minister when I was the chief of traffic police in Jammu and Kashmir.”
His resignation letter, however, has not reached the office of the Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary or that of Director General of Police Dilbag Singh.
Rath has been at the centre of controversies on multiple occasions in the past and has issued contentious tweets through his unverified handle, ‘KangriCarrier’.
He had earlier tweeted, “If I ever join a political party, it will be BJP. If I ever contest an election, it will be from Kashmir. If I ever join politics, it will be before March 6, 2024.”
When contacted, Jammu and Kashmir BJP president Ravinder Raina said he has no knowledge about Rath planning to join the BJP.
“He is popular among the youth in the valley but he did not contact us (JK BJP unit) till date,” Raina, who is currently on a tour of Kashmir, told PTI over phone.
He said it would be premature to make any comment on the subject at the moment.
In July 2000, Rath was suspended by the Ministry of Home Affairs for “repeated instances of gross misconduct and misbehavior”.
Meanwhile, The Jammu and Kashmir administration or Director General of Police Dilbag Singh’s office has not received any resignation letter of suspended IPS officer Basant Rath, a copy of which was posted on his unverified Twitter handle, officials said on Tuesday.
Senior officials in the Jammu and Kashmir administration said it was possible that Rath, a 2000-batch IPS officer, had only intended to float the idea of seeking voluntary retirement by posting a resignation letter on his unverified Twitter handle, “KangriCarrier”.
Rath, who has been under suspension since July 2020, is facing disciplinary proceedings for “repeated instances of gross misconduct and misbehaviour, which have been brought to the notice of the government”, officials said.
In the order of his suspension, the Union Home Ministry had said that “…during the period of suspension, Rath’s headquarter shall be Jammu and he will not leave it without obtaining permission of Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police.”
Efforts to seek reaction from Rath did not yield any result as he neither answered his phone nor replied to WhatsApp messages. Rath, who will be completing two years of his suspension next month, had announced his resignation through his social media accounts on June 25 hinting that he would join politics to contest elections from Kashmir.
“Politics is a noble profession,” he had posted on Twitter as well as WhatsApp status and Instagram.
In his purported resignation letter addressed to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta and marked to Director General of Police Dilbag Singh and Commandant General Home Guard H K Lohia, Rath said, “I wish to resign from the Indian Police Service in order to be able to participate in electoral politics.